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The World Under Assault: Can Science Beat Terrorism?

The above title advertises a Cambridge Science Festival event, (9 March 2009) in which I have been invited to participate.  My answer to the question in the title, will be spelt out in my first PowerPoint slide: “No: because paranoia cannot be cured by CCTV, or DNA databases, or ID cards, or CRB checks, or …

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Cycle helmets and the importance of culture

On 11 August the Guardian published an article entitled “Do cyclists really need helmets?” It noted the difference in cycling culture between continental northern Europe and elsewhere. I submitted a letter on the subject that they declined to publish. So I have submitted it to my blog where I have a 100% success rate.  Do …

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Bicycle bombs: a threat to Westminster?

On 25 June I participated in a debate held by the Royal Institute of British Architects “This house believes we should fortify our cities”. Piers Gough and I opposed the motion. In the course of the debate the proposers, Lorraine Gamman and Adam Thorpe, raised the threat of bicycle bombs. After the debate they produced …

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Maths and the City

Published in The GuardianThursday June 12, 2008 Ian Stewart asserts that his university’s mathematics students “earn more money, on average, than those studying any other degree subject” and that “their ability to handle technical ideas is highly prized, and rewarded” (Letters, June 7). His assumption, shared by most other contributors to the current debate about …

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